For decades DANTAK has been initiating various major works in the country. Until now they have been awarding works to Indian contractors as they initially did not find the capacity in the Bhutanese contractors.
Now with time they have started having faith in Bhutanese contractors and they are finding ways to work together by awarding construction works to Bhutanese contractors.
This comes at an important time as currently only 60 percent of local contractors are fully engaged in construction sector while 40 percent are left idle without any work. For now, there are more than 3,000 private contractors in the country.
DANTAK is ready to work with the local contractors and it is hoped this initiative will help local contractors to get work without having to stay idle.
An official from DANTAK said that with time the Bhutanese contractors have been doing well like any other contractors around the world, and they have always have wished to work with Bhutanese contractors given many reasons.
He said, “Now with the pandemic it has become a must that we work together given the resource and labor constraint. We have funds and we have works, but what we need is Bhutanese participation. However, when we float a tender we do not get any applications from Bhutanese contractors.”
They have tried some ways to involve local contractors, but they could not succeed and they have been looking for ways to work together.
They are working towards making the Bhutanese and Indian processes similar and are trying to resolve the other issues involved, said the DANTAK official.
DANTAK expects maximum Bhutanese contractors to take part in their tenders and there are many works coming their way. He said, “There are certain things which we cannot change even when we want to, but we want to know the issues or challenges faced by local contractors so that we can come to one conclusion to sort things out.”
These are on-going process, however, if they are ready to work with DANTAK they are more than happy work together, he said, adding that it would be pleasure for them to support Bhutan as the construction sector got hit hard by the pandemic.
The official further added that this initiative is to boost the country’s economy. As a gesture to help the country with its economy DANTAK also started to get fuel, cement and steel from within the country, which they used to get from India, he added.
Meanwhile, Executive Director of Construction Association of Bhutan (CAB) Tshering Yonten said that they have proposed the idea to DANTAK six months ago with an objective to ensure that Bhutanese contractors get work.
“Our own Bhutanese contractors do not get work as most of the large scale works are being undertaken by DANTAK. So, to give a fair chance to our contractors we have approached them with the idea and we are happy that they are looking forward to taking up our local contractors,” he added.
The DANTAK official said that they have been waiting for such proposals from the local contractors, adding that they agreed to work on making their tender bidding document such that it would suit the local contractor’s standard.
Tshering said, “Though they are using Indian Procurement Rules, DANTAK asked our Bhutanese contractors to participate in their tender. They have also confirmed that they would assign the work if any of the local contractors get the work.”
However, DANTAK said that they would carry out the formation cutting work as it may have connection problems. Otherwise, the other works like road widening and base course can be done by local contractors.
Tshering said that they have approached government with a request to minimize the department construction work, to disallow the community contract and to not allocate work directly to CDCL as there are enough contractors in the market.